Memorial unveiled for Hunter survivors and victims

The memorial stone at St Francis Xavier College in Hamilton (MNnews.today)

A memorial to the survivors and victims of sexual abuse was unveiled on Wednesday at the former Marist Brothers High School in Hamilton in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese. Source: MNnews.today.

Acting Principal of St Francis Xavier's College Julia Lederwasch welcomed more than 200 people to the gathering at the college, a co-educational school located at the site of the former Marist Brothers High School.

Speakers included Beverley and Bob O’Toole, a Marist abuse survivor and founder of the Clergy Abused Network, and Audrey Nash and her son Geoffrey, whose son and brother Andrew was a student at Marist Brothers High School.

In his address, Mr O’Toole said the memorial would give a voice to those who didn't have one at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“Sadly, Marist Brothers Hamilton has a history of brutality and a horrific record of sexual abuse crimes.”

He said for many survivors, it was too painful for them to attend the dedication, among them John Dunn, a schoolboy friend of Andrew Nash.

Mr O’Toole then shared an extract from a letter from Mr Dunn:

“I buried my friend (Andrew Nash) but I have never said goodbye. I was asked what this memorial means to me. It is a place where I need to say goodbye to my friend, to let him rest finally and to let these memories rest.”

Mr Nash recalled how his brother Andrew took his own life in 1974 when he was just 13 years old and a student at the school. Mr Nash detailed the names of the Marist Brothers who had taught at the Hamilton and Maitland schools and who had later been either charged or convicted with sexual offences against children.

The Newcastle Herald in its editorial on the memorial, detailed that the Marist Brothers acknowledged at the royal commission that Andrew Nash was probably sexually abused at the school before he took his own life.

Marist Brothers provincial Br Peter Carroll FMS said there had been too many words that "fail to encompass the enormity of what has happened and the suffering that has been endured and that is still evident, words that have failed to recognise there are, never have been and never will be any excuse for the criminal abuse of children.”

FULL STORY

Memorial gives voice to the silent (MNnews.today)

Provincial's Address at Newcastle Memorial (Marist Brothers)

RELATED COVERAGE

A memorial dedication was reminded of the shocking history of abuse in Hunter Catholic schools (Newcastle Herald)

John Dunn won't be at a memorial dedication in Newcastle today for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse (Newcastle Herald)

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